Partnership gets started

The future of the UK’s automotive industry lined up on the starting grid at the House of Lords today – to mark a milestone moment in its industrial history.

The Automotive Industrial Partnership, which consists of many of the UK’s leading automotive manufacturers, aims to drive growth, investment and revenues by securing skills for the future. Business secretary, Vince Cable announced the £30m initiative earlier this year (Jan 2015).

Jo Lopes, chair of the Automotive Industrial Partnership and head of technical excellence at Jaguar Land Rover hailed the launch as an important moment in the history of the sector. ‘This is an exceptional moment for our sector. The Automotive Industrial Partnership brings together the sector’s employers to work collaboratively on an unprecedented scale.

‘The unified effort – from all sides of the industry and government – will ensure that the automotive sector will thrive for generations to come.

‘The partnership will see large manufacturers working alongside SME supply chain employers to develop good practice that the entire industry will benefit from.

‘We are aiming to inspire the next generation of vehicle makers and create new routes into automotive careers, as well as upskilling those that already work in the industry.’

Business secretary, Vince Cable said, ‘This investment puts our automotive sector in the driving seat to design the skills our manufacturing companies need. There is a risk that without adequate investment in skills, the industry will run into serious skills bottlenecks.’

Among the household names driving the partnership are; Bentley, BMW, Ford, GKN, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota and Vauxhall.
Not for profit employer led skills organisation Semta, industry trade association the SMMT working through the Automotive Council also support the Automotive Industrial Partnership in conjunction with the Industry Forum, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Initiatives include:

• Supporting the development and roll out of robust and quality focussed new world class Apprenticeship Standards, with the development of Trailblazer Apprenticeships in seven key areas.

• Piloting a range of programmes to attract more work ready new entrants to the sector, including giving 4,500 Year Six students an experience of working in the industry through a one day production simulation and taking on 960 11-16 year old Industrial Cadets, to develop vital industry skills in team working, communications and problem solving over a six day programme.

• Providing a route to work for 19+ year olds, with a 15 day programme offering vocational training and simulated work activities designed by their potential future employers. Assessing functional and employability skills will lead to further work experience at a host company, helping young people with little or no workplace experience and vocational skills on a route to possible future apprenticeships.

• Carrying out in depth research to establish automotive industry employers’ current and future skills needs.

• Developing industry approved high quality learning and development solutions that are relevant to job roles across the whole industry.

• Formally accrediting quality assured training organisations to deliver industry approved frameworks, qualifications and programmes.

• Upskilling the existing workforce and re-training and recruitment initiatives to bring new talent to the industry, which will benefit large manufacturer and SME supply chain employers.

• Attracting 10,000 apprentices and 2,000 graduates by 2018.

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